Trump practices a crass version of realpolitik, indifferent to human rights and adulterated by his personal inconstancy and obsession with “winning.” But his peers are hardly better. Merkel, supposedly the moral conscience of the West, has been more than happy to cut pipeline deals for Putin’s benefit.
This is the West almost as it looked in the 1930s: internally divided and inward looking, hesitant in the face of aggression, incanting political pieties in which it no longer believed—and so determined not to repeat the mistakes of the last war that it sleepwalked its way into the next. The only thing missing is a skillful political marauder — Trump isn’t him — ready to tear the whole thing down.
If we really wanted to honor the sacrifices of D-Day, we would do well to learn again what it is the Allies really fought for — not to save the United States or even Britain (which by 1944 could not be beaten) but to liberate Europe; not to defeat an aggressive nation-state but to eradicate a despicable ideology; not to enjoy the spoils as the victors but to lay the foundations of a just and enduring peace; not to subsume our values under our interests but to define our interests according to our values.